In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a poignant scene between Harry and Sirius introduces us to the grand and mysterious Black family tapestry, a sprawling history of Sirius’s ancestors, and the many other wizarding families that connect to its branches.
The scene is famously bittersweet, as Sirius tells Harry how he was burned out of his tree alongside other family members. But the tapestry itself is resplendent in capturing the chronicles of a complicated wizarding family.
For Miraphora Mina, who designed the tapestry with her creative partner Eduardo Lima, this particular piece has always been very special to the Harry Potter fandom and the story at large.
“With all the designs, we’re trying to tell the backstory, and give not just information, but mood and colour and spirit and history to the scene,” Mira explained. “You’re trying to set the mood by the visuals. And we knew we wanted to give the sense of a real legacy that this family had importance in the wizarding world. They had stature and layers that you get when you go to a stately home – you feel straight away, through the visuals and through the history, the importance of that family.”
When it came to designing such a huge set-piece, Mira and her team endeavoured to create something as authentic as possible, focusing on a particular real-life relic, the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries, as a key visual reference.
“You’ll see the visual language from that if you look at those pictures. And that really set the tone in terms of the legacy, and how a tapestry is made. They were very sophisticated in terms of their colour and shading and fabric, but there’s also a rudimentary quality to the faces, which I guess comes from weaving, because they wouldn’t be able to get the same effect as with a painting. We even went to talk to a tapestry-maker which was insane!”
The fan reaction to the piece was huge, with MinaLima also creating wallpaper and art prints.
“We didn’t realise!” Mira admits. “It was just another bit of our work. It’s great meeting the fans, because you start to understand what’s important to them and the pieces of story that move them. So, we’re always trying to have that dialogue with the audience. It’s giving back. That’s what this is all for. [The tapestry] is just a lovely meeting-point as a significant moment in the storytelling. We’ve been sent lots of photos of peoples’ rooms with the wallpaper. And it’s always a happy surprise to see how it creates this little world.”
The new tapestry collection has something for everybody – from notebooks for the budding creatives out there to a fabulously chic umbrella (“I quite like it when it rains now!” Mira says) – all available on MinaLima’s official shop today.
As for the rest of 2024, MinaLima are exploring other exciting narratives.
“We’ve had so much fantastic feedback of us being storytellers of other stories, and we’ve tried our best to bring other writers’ works to life – so now it’s time to look at our own stories,” Mira reveals. “So that’s where we’re at, how best to craft our own stories, bring them to life, not necessarily on the page, but in other ways too. That’s the big challenge we’ve set ourselves.”
You can visit MinaLima.com to explore the tapestry range today.